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October 25, 2007

Panthers may sign free agents before Peppers

There's been a lot of speculation the Panthers might make defensive end Julius Peppers the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Despite a quiet season by Peppers, that probably will happen at some point.

   But Peppers' might not be the No. 1 priority right now. Peppers is under contract through 2008. But there are seven other starters and one key backup who can become free agents after this season and the Panthers might want to start locking some of them up as the second half of the season approaches:

    Start with the offensive tackles, Jordan Gross and Travelle Wharton. Gross is a very solid player on the right side and Wharton is adequate on the left. If Gross played the left side, he'd command an outrageous salary, but he plays the right side where tackles don't make as much. Wharton won't command elite money because he's not an elite player. But he's dependable and economical and that means he probably has a good chance to stay.
   Defensive end Mike Rucker also is playing out his contract. He could elect to follow his best friend, Mike Minter, into retirement. Rucker already took a big cut in pay to stay this season. If he wants to stick around for another year, the Panthers probably won't argue, but they won't pay Rucker the big money he's been getting.
   Fullback Brad Hoover has become a staple of this team and he still has a few decent years in him.


's a

North Carolina

kid and it probably won't cost the Panthers a fortune to keep a very dependable player.
   Punter Jason Baker also has played well enough to earn a raise. He's become one of the league's best punters and the Panthers know it and value Baker, who doesn't bring the headaches that predecessor Todd Sauerbrun did.
   Defensive tackle Damione Lewis isn't a starter, but he plays a lot and rotates in for Maake Kemoeatu on passing downs. Kemoeatu hasn't produced at a level close to his salary and the Panthers could look to move in a different direction next season. Lewis won't cost a fortune and he has the ability to be a starter.
   Two players clearly on the bubble are receiver Keary Colbert and linebacker Na'il Diggs. You can make a strong case that both are expendable. Diggs is a nice role player and nothing more. Colbert's been a disappointment since his rookie season and it might be time for the Panthers to find a legitimate No. 2 receiver (and, no, you can't pencil Dwayne Jarrett in for that role yet). - Pat Yasinskas

Posted by Observer Sports on October 25, 2007 at 12:15 AM | Permalink


Agree with you Pat. Don't you think Foxy should put Jarrete in now. He can't be so dumb not to learn at least half of plays?

Posted by: Cats' Fan | Oct 25, 2007 1:08:50 AM

I personally wouldnt worry TOO much about the defense. Yeah it needs help but its not terrible. The Rucker situation to me is quite simple. If he decides to retire, in his place play Stanley McClover. He's not a terrible player. In fact, he made some good plays during preseason...the guy is all over the place. If their wanting to bring in more linemen...find someone to backup Peppers and McClover.My beliefs on what is needed....

1 - If Rucker leaves...I already told you what i think.
2 - Backup for Beason. D-Mo (Dan Morgan) is done. The guys sustained too many injuries and isnt woorth risking any longer.
3 - Cornerback to replace Gamble. He isnt impressing me. To be honest never really has. The guy plays without passion. Like that tackle in Arizona that he just gave up on and let Edgerin James score..wtf.
4 - Another Safty. Im comfortable with whos in now but if one goes down (probable seeing how our team is notorious on injuries)we need a replacement.

Thats really all I beleive the D needs..besides a fire in their souls to dominate the rest of the season. I know this is about Defense but I want to get into offense also. There we need:

1 - Something on the line. Now if they can play like they did in Arizona...they keep the job. But we cant afford any sacks with an injured Carr and 44 year old Vinny.
2 - Some key recievers! Comon man...we got Smith. Drew Carter you say? WHO...he's made his plays...but he drops more key passes than a blonde on skates. We got Dwayne Jarret...but its not like it matters. Hes never getting any playing time.
3 - A runningback to standout. DeAngelo makes his plays but is he 1st string material? DeShaun....needs to stay away from the butter and grease before a game...makes him drop the ball too much.
5 - Aggresive play calling!!!Screen passes arent gonna cut it anymore. Draw plays and go 3 an out arent gonna work. Handing it off on 3rd and 13....wtf are you thinking.

Oh and Carolina fans...
1 - Why go to a game to sit quietly? This isnt tennis...effin standup proudly and represent the black and blue. If your ashamed your attending the wrong sport.
2 - No matter how bad....my favorite word here...Believe...that panther pride.
3 - How about...oh i dont know...stay at the game? Whats going to help a team more than the fans booing and leaving in the 2nd quarter (sarcasm there ppl).

Sunday we play the Colts...and I think this is our time. We are winless at home...this game is building up to be an upset. Indy playing twice this week...only 4 days to prepare...were coming off the bye. Its possible....be prepared if your attending to represent. My forecast?.........Carolina 28-20


Posted by: Dustin | Oct 25, 2007 1:25:29 AM

Umm...didn't Jason Baker just get an extension making him the highest-paid punter in the league just THIS SUMMER??? I'm not one of the whiners, Pat, but this is definitely dropping the ball on your part.
As for Jarrett, there have been SEVERAL articles written about why he hasn't been in the lineup, and playbook knowledge is far from the only thing.
Richard Williamson (our WRs coach, since you probably don't know): "He's got to get better at route running. We have a sense of urgency around here. Everything has got to be quick. You have to move and be quick and get away from the press and things like that. He needs to work on all of that. He has a big body, so you can't be a Tinkerbell out there. You have to be like a bull in the closet. He's got a big body, now use it. Knock those guys around and get off the line of scrimmage and do what you have to do."

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 25, 2007 2:26:27 AM

Please Procton,Like you even knew who Richard Williamson was before someone posted it in a thread about Jarrett on the board...........Be Origional.....

Posted by: WillHas4LipsNbleeds4SevenDays | Oct 25, 2007 2:44:34 AM

i think Carr is Garbage, need 2 new quarterbacks because vinny is too old, but he gives us a chance, but he probably wont last the whole season, God forbid, Williams should be the starting back, Colbert is garbage, whatsup with Jarret, Robinson, Carter, and you know smith and R. moss best two recievers in NFL, and Harrison from indianapolis, our line is trump tight, tight end king impresses me, our d line need to step it up, they can do it, they need to cut dan morgan for sure, what is up with that, linebackers are ok dbs are ok, safeties are ok, but that new safety from Chicago is a straight head busser. and thats what it do. coaching on offense pass and run just as equally with reverse and trick plays, using robinson or smith or carter, speedsters, and on defense blitz these quarterbacks more and i dont even know why they drafted a quarterback that is the most sacked in the nfl, because if the other teams blitz him, he will be sacked because clearly he cannot scramble in the pocket thats how he got the squished injury. Ex soldier on the gridiron for 12 years in Florida just did not get opportunity due to the haters in this land, but i know talent and football, and i have analyzed this team and i been a carolina fan since i moved up here in 2002 jumped on the bandwagon because without defense you cant win games, a little offense a lot of defense you can make it happen. thats real

Posted by: taiwan | Oct 25, 2007 7:58:54 AM

You might want to consider switching to decaf. Read your post. It has so many fragmented thoughts, that it is almost incomprehensible.

Posted by: Beaster | Oct 25, 2007 8:14:39 AM

Ironic that the Procton hater's name is not "Origoinal," but stolen from a 50 Cent song.

Posted by: LeeL | Oct 25, 2007 8:43:16 AM

Baker just got a huge contract. Of course, I am not at all surprised that Pat doesn't know that. He doesn't know very much about the Panthers, afterall.

Posted by: jason | Oct 25, 2007 8:56:46 AM

Hoover? Hoover? All he does is not cause trouble. He can't block anyone, he has had one play all year where he drove a tackler (a cornerback) backwards. We sit and let this guy play fullback under the radar, but if you watch him carefully you will see this is another spot, like tight end was last year, that needs an upgrade, and could get one easily. Think about it, who is the backup fullback? Hoover calls Jerry Mr. Richardson, has good manners, and is a great presence in the community. He does everything you would want your player to do as a representative, except play. He is like the guy we all work with who isn't very good at his job but kisses butt well, plays politics well, and gets promoted. Put a real player in that spot and you will spring those running backs. Keep him as a backup and special teams player, but put a trip-hammer back there that will punish would-be tacklers. Hoover. Hoover?

Posted by: Willy | Oct 25, 2007 10:12:46 AM

I knew there was a shameless plug somewhere! It almost sounds like these guys are getting a kickback to print something sometimes! "A payraise for Jason Baker??" Whatever!!! This guy has botched punts up this year, after signing an extension!! Is Pat trying to support his crack habit posting crap like this or what!?!

Posted by: SYRPIS | Oct 25, 2007 10:18:16 AM

I also agree with Willy. Fullbacks are a dime a dozen. I wouldn't exactly scramble to resign him at 30+ years of age. I do think he is a better blocker than Willy is making him out to be, but I still wouldn't sweat his contract.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Oct 25, 2007 10:22:02 AM

I will have to agree with Dustin on Panthers fans support!

To reiterate:

To Win at Home = 50% Team + 50% Fans
Teams are motivated by fans and loud noise.
If you're so scared to cheer like a FAN, you're definitely at the wrong stadium!
If, just by a little chance, everyone in the whole stadium were to make a lot of noise, maybe this just might work! FOOTBALL IS NOT A "BE POLITE TO THE OPPOSING TEAM" or a let's show other people how prim and proper we are, sport! This isn't a frickin' ballet on the Queen of England's castle grounds!

Let's all be leaders in our own right and scream and yell, BEFORE the electronic boards tell us to "Make Some Noise".

Posted by: winningteamfansobserver | Oct 25, 2007 11:51:20 AM

Why? do we go out and and pick up guys like David Carr he is immuned to losing. let's get key positions guys that has winning the big game back ground. we need the "what have you done for me lately attitude" David Carr was no fix for a broken under, performing, Cris Winke.

Posted by: Ron | Oct 25, 2007 12:08:32 PM

I agree with all fans,TIME TO MAKE SOME NOISE!,Yes that is a fact,BUT...Most fans want to SEE PROGRESS,Its hard to tell fans, "keep the Panther Pride",Im one that always dose,but when you see teams,for example,Dallas,aways playing every season good,and fans can depend on and sure about,This is the way Carolina fans want to be (sure about The Panthers), it is said,"Let others speak high of you",and that is what all Panther fans want to do,but how can you if you are UNSURE?

Posted by: #1 Fan | Oct 25, 2007 1:40:38 PM

Look!we need to go out here and just play hard nose football every snap and do what we suppose to do.Why not put jarret in,the other guys look if they cant run their routes neither(besides stevey)and do not start carr this sunday vinny or the other free aggent,just cant afford to look bad this sunday,and pls start williams at running back coach fox pls,foster fumbles to much,pls fox we are playing the COLTS!!

Posted by: Darrell | Oct 25, 2007 2:12:06 PM

Speaking of injuries,Why cant we ever get a full season with Adam Seward,This cat is always injured,There's nodoubt that he is good,he just cant stay healthy,What is wrong with that one?

Posted by: #1 Fan | Oct 25, 2007 3:19:14 PM

The Panthers should be looking into bringing in Chad Johnson of the Bengals via trade. If it's true that the Bengals are thinking about unloading their star receiver; the Panthers should do all they can to bring in Steve Smith's junior college teammate. That would instantly make the Panthers having the best WR duo in the league and give the Panthers opponents more to worry about than just shutting down No. 89.

Posted by: Tyrone | Oct 25, 2007 5:12:38 PM

WillHas4LipsNbleeds4SevenDays...first, SWEET name. I bet you were proud to put that one down. Secondly, you're right. Despite the fact that I've been a fan of this team since the day Charlotte was awarded a franchise, I had NO IDEA who Richard Williamson was...well, aside from the fact that he's been the wide receivers coach since DAY ONE! Dumbass.
Willy, YOU'RE right about Brad Hoover. The first guy I'd be looking to get rid of is the guy who's been the lead blocker for the 8th-best rushing attack in the NFL.
SYPRIS, here we go again, you talking without knowing. Jason Baker sure HAS done a terrible job in ranking 9th in the NFL in net punting, not to mention the fact that he's 6th in the NFL in punts inside the 20. Oh yeah, and he hasn't had a touchback YET!

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 25, 2007 10:27:19 PM

'Scuse me, I wasn't quite done yet. As I was saying...
There is NOBODY in the NFL with as many punts put inside the 20-yard line without a TB.
Ron, firstly, what does it even mean to be "immuned" to something? If it means something along the lines as being immune to something or having been immunized, then wouldn't it be a good thing that he had received the treatment for losing? As far as I know, most immunizations are given by exposing a patient to a sample of the disease so they develop antibodies. If that's the case, Carr's gotten the best cure anyone ever could.
#1 Fan, you're great. I love that you tout the Cowboys as models of consistency, given that the Panthers have won FIVE playoff games, been to two NFC championships, and a Super Bowl more recently than the Cowboys have even been able to win a postseason GAME! And Adam Seward...you've always got to hate a guy who can't make it through a full season. But wait...isn't that what it means when it says he played 16 games last season?
Tyrone, we neither need nor want Chad Johnson. He knows nothing about the word team or what it means to be a member of one. He listens to no one and does exactly what he wants to do when he wants to do it. Unlike Smitty, Johnson would demand touches, regardless of whether he was the right read or not, and if he didn't get it when he wanted it, you can be sure he'd go running to the media. When a team is willing to trade a guy who's led his conference in receiving for four years in a row, that says more than any of his on-the-field impact ever could.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Oct 25, 2007 10:44:33 PM


Not putting you down man but....I totally disagree with us not wanting Chad Johnson. Chad and Steve are close friends bc they were teammates...and it would create one of the most dynamic duos of any team....a duo like Reggie Wayne and Marvin Harrison. It would take all attention of smith thats for sure. If we made it to where they had to single cover Smith and if we had Chad, single cover him....they WILL 90% of the time beat D. As for what hes doing right now...idk. It would get frustrating going from a great team to nothing. Palmers throwing bad passes, the line sucks...there just terrible. If we were to pick up chad johnson itd be the 2nd happiest day of my life...1st being when we win a superbowl.

Go panthers

Posted by: Dustin | Oct 26, 2007 1:35:10 AM

I am so tired of people thinking noise is somehow needed to get this team to victory. Maybe if they stopped playing commercials right up to the snap of the ball in the stadium every single time and once in awhile showed a bad call to let the fans get worked up it just might help. As to the player changes, move Gamble to the free safety cover postion, bring Marshall in to start at corner, leave beason in the middle, McClover over Rucker at DE. Release Kemo (I am not doing anything but am still costing you big bucks), Give DeAngelo the bulk of the runs and scheme plays for him (he is a playmaker and number one pick), Play Jarrett over Colbert (how many games year after year can you let a guy who gets about 2 catches every other game be your number 2 guy?). Play Rosario over Hoover and then can our def coordinator Mike Trogn i cant adjust and our not so special teams coach.

Posted by: mark clifford | Oct 26, 2007 10:36:52 AM

If I were coach I would not let go of Mike Rucker and Julius Peppers. They are some big defensive units. Those two ends have done alot of good things for the Panthers. I would never get rid of those two.

Posted by: Jeremy | Oct 26, 2007 10:59:12 PM

Hey taiwan, speak english, not gangsta street crap.

Posted by: Dan | Oct 27, 2007 4:06:42 PM

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